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Daily News Summary

The purpose of this summary provided by the Communications Department of The Florida Bar is to present media coverage that may be of interest to members. Opinions expressed in the articles are attributable solely to the authors. The Florida Bar does not adopt or endorse any opinions expressed below. For information on previous articles, please contact the publishing newspaper directly.

August 08, 2019

  1. The Florida Bar

    BUSINESS LAW SECTION CONSIDERS CREATING A CANNABIS LAW ENTITY

    The Florida Bar | Article | August 07, 2019

    This week, FloridaBarNews.TV highlights the Cannabis Law Working Group of The Florida Bar’s Business Law Section, which is weighing whether cannabis law practitioners should be given formal participation in the section, possibly through a committee, task force, or subcommittee. The 18-member working group has until the Business Law Section’s annual Labor Day retreat to make a recommendation.

  2. Criminal Justice Issues

    APPEALS COURT HANDS PALM BEACH COUNTY STATE ATTORNEY BIG WIN IN OPIOID CRACKDOWN

    Palm Beach Post | Article | August 07, 2019

    Scores of people ensnared by Palm Beach County State Attorney Dave Aronberg’s efforts to curb the area’s opioid epidemic won’t be able to beat criminal charges by claiming they got bad advice from their attorneys, an appeals court ruled Wednesday [Aug. 7]. In a decision that lifts a legal cloud that threatened to ravage Aronberg’s crackdown on the county’s illicit drug treatment industry, the 4th District Court of Appeal ruled that dozens of people charged with patient brokering can’t drag their attorneys into court to testify that they advised their clients that what they were doing was legal. “As a matter of first impression, we hold that ‘advice of counsel’ is not a defense to the general intent crime of patient brokering,” Judge Jonathan Gerber wrote on behalf of the three-judge panel.

  3. Unlicensed Practice of Law

    WAS HE A FAKE LAWYER? A REAL JURY NOW MUST DECIDE

    South Florida Sun-Sentinel | Article | August 07, 2019

    A Pompano Beach man accused of pretending to be a lawyer was brought before a real jury in a Broward courtroom Tuesday [Aug. 5], charged with duping homeowners and renters into thinking he could assist them in foreclosure, eviction and other real estate actions. Prosecutors say Kenneth Frank, 56, filed and drafted legal papers that should only be filed by attorneys who are members of The Florida Bar. Defense lawyer David Wheeler told the jury in opening statements that Frank never claimed to be a lawyer, that he had an attorney assist him in reviewing documents, and that he only collected money he was legally owed. Jurors were told to expect the trial to last a week.

  4. Criminal Justice

    CREMATED REMAINS OF 9 PEOPLE FOUND AT ORLANDO OFFICE OF DISGRACED FORMER GUARDIAN REBECCA FIERLE

    Orlando Sentinel | Article | August 07, 2019

    The cremated remains of nine people were found by law enforcement officers who searched the Orlando office of disgraced former professional guardian Rebecca Fierle this week, the state’s Office of Attorney General said Wednesday [Aug. 7]. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the Orange County Sheriff’s Office executed a search warrant Monday at 1646 Hillcrest St., a small converted house northeast of downtown. FDLE launched a criminal probe into the court-appointed decision maker last month, after a state investigation found one of her incapacitated clients, 75-year-old Steven Stryker, died at a Tampa hospital in May following Fierle’s refusal to remove a “do not resuscitate” order she filed against his wishes. Fierle is not currently facing criminal charges. Her attorney did not immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday.

  5. Criminal Justice

    FLORIDA REAL ESTATE SCHEMER PLEADS GUILTY TO $1.3 BILLION FRAUD. MOST VICTIMS WERE RETIREES

    Miami Herald | Article | August 06, 2019

    The founder of a South Florida real estate company pleaded guilty Wednesday [Aug. 7] to orchestrating a $1.3 billion Ponzi scheme that bilked thousands of mostly elderly investors. Robert H. Shapiro, the former CEO of the Woodbridge Group of Companies, admitted in Miami federal court that he “misappropriated” between $25 million and $95 million of the investors’ money to himself and his family to pay for an estate in the Los Angeles area, chartered planes, global travel, jewelry, diamonds, vintage wines and artworks. Now, all those luxury items belong to the feds. Shapiro, 61, was arrested in April and faces up to 20 years for wire and mail fraud conspiracy and an additional five years for tax evasion. His sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 15.

  6. Judicial Issues

    PANEL STUDYING ACCESS TO COURT RECORDS SEEKS MORE TIME TO COMPLETE ITS WORK

    The Florida Bar | Article | August 07, 2019

    A special subcommittee examining how quickly the press and public can access court records is asking for an extension to the end of the year to finish its work. The subcommittee, made up of members of the Bar’s Rules of Judicial Administration Committee and the Supreme Court’s Florida Courts Technology Commission, had an Aug. 31 deadline (which had been extended from an original June 6 target) for submitting a report to the court. The court asked the committee to investigate complaints from media organizations that it takes too long to get access to electronically filed court documents from clerks of courts.

  7. Civil Justice Issues

    AIRBNB SUES PALM BEACH COUNTY, CLAIMS VACATION RENTAL ORDINANCE IS UNCONSTITUTIONAL

    Palm Beach Post | Article | August 07, 2019

    Airbnb, the short-term vacation rental hosting platform, doesn’t agree with Palm Beach County’s newest set of rules. The conflict between Airbnb and Palm Beach County is showing no signs of a peaceful resolution, as the vacation rental hosting platform filed yet another lawsuit against the county and tax collector Anne Gannon. Airbnb says the county’s new vacation rental ordinance violates the Local Option Tourist Development Act and the Florida Constitution, in the lawsuit filed in the 15th Judicial Circuit Court on Monday [Aug. 5]. Palm Beach County’s revised set of rules on vacation rentals were approved on June 18. The portion that Airbnb contends with is the requirement that the hosting platform must provide bed tax information to hosts and must collect a valid bed tax account number, all before allowing the property to be listed on the website.

  8. Civil Justice Issues

    STATE ECONOMIST EXPLAINS NEW REVIEW PROCESS FOR BALLOT INITIATIVES

    WFSU | Article | August 06, 2019

    Florida’s Office of Economic and Demographic Research known as EDR is tasked with predicting outcomes of proposed legislation, new laws, or constitutional amendments. But a new law has now changed how much work goes into predicting petition initiatives. EDR’s Coordinator Amy Baker spoke about what the changes mean. “For the first time, we’re not looking at just government impacts, we’re having to consider private sector impacts or household impacts. So that’s a bigger scope than we ever had,” explained Baker. In order to trigger an EDR study, a petition must reach 10 percent of the statewide requirement in at least 25 percent of Florida’s congressional districts. That comes to 76,000 signatures.

  9. Civil Justice Issues

    JUDGE TO HEAR ARGUMENTS IN FLORIDA/GEORGIA ‘WATER WAR’

    Tallahassee Democrat | Article | August 06, 2019

    Going along with a request from Florida’s attorneys, a federal judge will hear arguments in December in a long-running water war between Florida and Georgia. Senior U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Paul J. Kelly, who was appointed by the U.S. Supreme Court to serve as a special master in the case, has scheduled oral arguments Dec. 16. Kelly, who serves on the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and is based in Santa Fe, N.M., will hear arguments in an Albuquerque courtroom. The lawsuit, filed by Florida in 2013, is a battle about water in the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint river system, which starts in Georgia and flows south into the Florida Panhandle.

  10. Civil Justice Issues

    AS FLOOD THREAT GROWS, FLORIDA MUST PUT HOMEBUYERS FIRST AND REQUIRE FLOOD RISK DISCLOSURE

    South Florida Sun-Sentinel | Column | August 08, 2019

    The column by Guy McClurkan, chief operating officer for the Federal Association for Insurance Reform, reads: “ . . . When a family in Florida decides to buy or rent a home, they should feel confident they have the resources and power needed to make informed decisions and get truthful answers. Today, that’s not the case. Sellers and landlords have no statutory obligation to inform a would-be buyer or renter of a home’s flood history or the flood hazard associated with the property.”

  11. Legislature

    LAWMAKER ADVANCES A STATE APOLOGY FOR THE JOHNS COMMITTEE THAT TARGETED CIVIL RIGHTS LEADERS AND LGBTQ FLORIDIANS

    Florida Phoenix | Article | August 02, 2019

    In an effort to acknowledge and move past one of the darkest phases of Florida’s 20th century history, a state senator has filed a resolution calling on the Legislature to apologize for the notorious Johns Committee’s investigation targeting civil rights leaders, academic leaders and LGBTQ Floridians in the 1950s and 1960s. Broward County Democratic Sen. Lauren Book has filed the measure for the 2020 session, which begins in January. It calls upon lawmakers to acknowledge “the injustices perpetrated against the targets of the Florida Legislative Investigation Committee between 1956 and 1965 and offers a formal and heartfelt apology to those whose lives, well-being, and livelihoods were damaged or destroyed by the activities and public pronouncements of those who served on the committee.”

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